We live in a world with an abundance of information. One might, fairly, claim we are drowning in information/data. This is profoundly different from what we faced 5, 10, 15, or more years ago, when information availability was far more restricted. Back in the “old days,” finding high quality information, relevant to what we needed was very difficult.

But today, the challenge is the opposite, we have too much good quality information. One would think, with this abundance would make things easier. We should be able to make better choices, more easily. Buying should be easier as customers find more, high quality information.

Instead, the abundance of high quality information makes things much more difficult for customers. How do they assess the information, much of it which may be contradictory–but still high quality? How do we know what information is most relevant to us, and which we should ignore? When we don’t know what we don’t know, how do we determine that which is most critical for us to learn? How do we overcome our biases, recognize our blind spots?

How do we make a high quality decision in which we have a high level of confidence that we have chosen correctly?

The data shows the majority of buyers find making decisions, today, is more difficult. The majority have regrets over their biggest purchases.

The role of the sales person changes profoundly in this world of abundance of information. Rather than being information concierges, dumping as much information about our products, solutions, capabilities, and companies as we can; we have to help the customer determine what’s most important to what they are trying to achieve.

We have to narrow that information we provide, we have to help them narrow what they seek, to those things that are most important to helping them solve their problem and move forward.

We have to help them figure out what that is–not by providing them more information, but by helping them think, helping them prioritize, helping them decide–not on a solution, but what they need to focus on to know they have chosen well.

In some sense, it’s like an exquisite piece of art, great music, or great writing. Artists, musicians, authors strip all the excess away, leaving a work of beauty.

Our job, as sales people, is to help customers strip away all that is not relevant or important, focusing only on those things most critical to achieving their goals.

This is sensemaking!